Visiting fishos reminded about sanctuary zones

WITH the Christmas holidays upon us, anglers are being reminded by National Parks to be aware of sanctuary zones – areas where you cannot fish.

There is great fishing off the NSW north coast, but there are also a couple of small sanctuary zones that you need to watch out for.

Although small, these zones play an important role in protecting critically endangered species and help maintain Australia’s marine biodiversity.

The Cod Grounds Commonwealth Marine Reserve (9km off the coast of Laurieton) and the Pimpernel Rock Sanctuary Zone (7km off the coast of Sandon Bluffs) inside the Solitary Islands Commonwealth Marine Reserve are both areas where fishing of any sort is prohibited.


Parks Australia spokesperson Dr Andrew Read said marker buoys have been installed in the centre of these zones to help marine users be aware of these areas and their boundaries.

“We’ve noticed this year that while local fishers know the areas and almost always stay out of the sanctuary zones, visiting fishers are not as aware and can stray into these no go zones,” Dr Read said. “This led to some big fines being handed down in 2015.

“Skilled fishers know there is plenty of great fishing without going into these protected zones. They are also familiar with bag limits and allowable size restrictions of fish caught.”

He said visiting fishers should make sure they know the rules around sanctuary zones and get familiar with where they can and can’t fish.

“Ultimately these zones are about increasing the numbers of fish species, improving the health of the oceans and ensuring big marine fauna like black cod make a strong comeback,” Dr Read said.

There are signs posted at boat ramps near these marine reserves, and these signs have maps showing the location of these areas and the rules that apply to them.

He said the reserves are regularly monitored by NSW DPI Fisheries vessel patrols as well as Parks Australia’s aerial surveillance operations.

Over the past year several people have been issued with infringement notices for fishing in these two sanctuary zones. Penalties for breaching sanctuary zone rules range from $450 to $9000.

Maps of the Cod Grounds can be found here and the Solitary Islands Commonwealth Marine Reserve here .

Illegal fishing can be reported through the Fishers Watch hotline on 1800 043 536.

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